Ticketmaster’s allegedly deep entanglement in ticket scalping will be tested in a United States court.
As previously reported, an undercover investigation published by Canada’s CBC and the Toronto Star found that Ticketmaster in that territory was apparently using its invite-only proprietary platform TradeDesk to enable resellers to buy tickets in bulk from the official Ticketmaster site, and sell them on with a substantial mark-up.
Less than two weeks after that exposé, the ticketing giant has been hit with a class action lawsuit.
Law firm Hagens Berman filed papers last Friday in California federal court on behalf of lead plaintiff Allen Lee, who is suing both Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation Entertainment for “unlawful and unfair business practices” that have “unjustly enriched” the ticket-seller at the expense of concert goers, Rolling Stone reports.
If accurate, Ticketmaster’s plan could affect millions of consumers, according to the complaint, which claims that the company encouraged touts to resell tickets on its platform because it collects a fee on the initial sale and on resale, a practice known as “double-dipping.”
“Have you ever wondered why Ticketmaster has been unable to rid itself of the scalpers who purchase mass quantities of concert or sports tickets from its website and then resell them for much more minutes later?” the complaint reads, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “The answer: Ticketmaster hasn’t wanted to rid itself of scalpers because, as it turns out, they have been working with them.”
In a separate statement issued last Friday, accompanying the suit, Steve Berman, managing partner and co-founder of Hagens Berman, wrote: “When you think of ticket buyers being swindled by scalpers, you likely imagine last-minute sales outside venue doors. You certainly wouldn’t assume the company selling the tickets – Ticketmaster – to be the ringleader behind massive price hikes spanning millions of tickets.” Berman’s firm is reaching out to others who bought tickets through one of Ticketmaster’s fan-to-fan resale sites to come forward.
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A Ticketmaster spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment at deadline.
Just last week, U.S. senators Jerry Moran and Richard Blumenthal issued a letter to LN CEO Michael Rapino asking for clarifications about Ticketmaster’s resale services.